Strongyloidiasis in Ethiopia: systematic review on risk factors, diagnosis, prevalence and clinical outcomes

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Terefe, Yitagele
Ross, Kirstin Elizabeth
Whiley, Harriet
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© The Author(s). 2019
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Background Strongyloidiasis is a gastrointestinal infection caused by the parasitic nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. It is estimated to infect up to 370 million people globally and is predominately found in tropical and subtropical areas of socioeconomic disadvantage. Main body This systematic literature review identified studies published in the last ten years on the risk factors, diagnosis, prevalence and/or clinical outcomes of strongyloidiasis in Ethiopia. The prevalence of S. stercoralis ranged from 0.2 to 11.1% in adults, 0.3% to 20.7% in children, 1.5% to 17.3% in HIV positive adults and 5% in HIV positive children. The identified studies primarily used microscopy based techniques that potentially underestimated the prevalence four fold compared with serology and PCR. Strongyloidiasis in children presents a particularly significant issue in Ethiopia as children often presented with anemia, which is associated with impaired mental and cognitive development. The most significant risk factor for strongyloidiasis was HIV status and although other risk factors were identified for helminth infections, none were statistically significant for S. stercoralis specifically. Several studies detected S. stercoralis in dogs and non-biting cyclorrhaphan flies. However, future research is needed to explore the role of these reservoirs in disease transmission. Conclusions This review demonstrated that strongyloidiasis is an overlooked and neglected disease in Ethiopia. There is a need for a systematic approach using a combination of molecular and serology based diagnostic methods to ascertain the true incidence and burden of strongyloidiasis in Ethiopia. Further research is also needed to break the cycle of transmission by identifying environmental reservoirs, risk factors and exploring the potential for zoonotic transfer.
© The Author(s). 2019 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Neglected tropical disease, Soil transmitted helminth, Public health, Strongyloides stercoralis, AIDS, HIV, Anemia
Terefe, Y., Ross, K., & Whiley, H. (2019). Strongyloidiasis in Ethiopia: systematic review on risk factors, diagnosis, prevalence and clinical outcomes. Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 8(1).